Technically, it would be possible for us to license or provide software to decode MFE-encoded video whether on disc or as a separate file, and if we did license to a BD software player developer it's possible that that software player could decode the source media file even outside the context of a BD disc.
Alternatively, there are free tools commonly used in a ripping workflow, for instance VLC or ffmpeg, that can crop the content to 1920 x 810, obviating the need for the BD-J mask.
Yeah, this is sort of a tricky/sticky thing. I don't use Blu-ray software players (PowerDVD, TMT, etc) I find they all suck generally. What I use currently for my collection is my SageTV HD300. However there's no hope of that ever being updated. I suppose I could hold out hope for Dune or someone to add MFE to one of their players.
Transcoding is an option but I'm not fond of it, especially just to burn black bars in, if I'm going to take the time I'd much rather actually get something for that, like be able to run an AVISynth filter or something that could actually use the MFE info.
The best answer is that we are way too early in the process to really speculate on this yet.
Yeah, I didn't really expect and answer. I mean I know it's possible since I'm sure you're doing it all in software and regular files right now. Really I think I just wanted to put the thought out there that there is some market at least for a "DIY" solution. Maybe that's the best way to "sell" the idea, a way for end users to encode/decode their own MFE content.
Yes, for sure anamorphic formats are supported I sat in on the subcommittee meetings as a representative of Panamorph and pitched hard for anamorphic support. I can't take total credit, though, since there were two others on the committee that backed our proposal. There is support built in for anamorphic 1920 x 1080 HD and 3840 x 2160 *UHD. Getting the studios to release content this way, though, is still the challenge. However, there is good news.
As some of you may know, Panamorph (through Folded Space) has added Deep Color Encoding (DCE) capabilities to our suite of solutions that also includes MFE (MultiFormatEncoding) support for anamorphic Blu-ray. At CES this year we got the preliminary support of a major CE manufacturer for both DCE and MFE. Having a major CE player on our side should give us more influence at the studio level.
Sorry I've been away so long - I've been working on the sound mix and music score for the film "Creep!."